Covid Inquiry Questions & Answers

Broudie Jackson Canter's Inquiry solicitors understand that the processes surrounding a statutory Inquiry will be unfamiliar to most people. The way Inquiries are run can seem over-complicated and gives the impression they are not easily accessible to the very people they are seeking to help.

We've created this section on our website to help members of the Covid-19 families for justice group and clients through every step of the Inquiry process.

Here, you can find the answers to the most common questions that our Inquiry solicitors have been asked about the statutory Inquiry. These questions have been asked on both our 'Live Newsletter' webinars and through the general enquiries that we are receiving.

You can download a copy of the questions and answers as a PDF. You can also find information on how to get legal representation if you'd like your voice to be heard at the statutory Inquiry.

If you have a question that has not been answered, then please do join the Covid-19 families for justice group and you’ll receive an invitation to our next ‘Live Newsletter’ webinar. In the meantime, here are the FAQs…

Q. In a nutshell what is the single goal of this Inquiry?

A. Examine the preparedness for COVID-19 and the actual response to it, and the impact of the pandemic in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Inquiry should produce an evidenced, official, definitive, factual narrative account, and determine accountability for failures which contributed to the loss of life, suffering and hardships.

Finally, it will make recommendations to ensure the lessons learned from this episode inform the UK’s preparations for future pandemics.


Q. Will I have to pay anything?

A. The Government has now approved a funding scheme (Costs protocol) which will cover the cost of legal representation for Core Participants (CP). This funding is not means tested, which is a huge positive.

An application for CP status has to be made in each and every module, CBFFJ UK has CP status in all modules to date. We will inform you of the progress of each CP status application as the Inquiry progresses.

This means that the government will cover all your legal costs relating to the Inquiry. We can confirm that there will be no costs incurred by you.

Q. Could this Inquiry take years and years?

A. The depressing side of this answer is that the Hillsborough Inquiry took almost 30 years. Other Inquiries (like the Infected Blood Inquiry) took even longer. What we are now pursuing is a process which starts as soon as possible and runs as quickly as it can while ensuring all issues relevant to the bereaved are properly explored. We've proposed that there needs to be a discussion about how quickly the Inquiry can be completed.

Of course, we want no stone left unturned, but with the right resources there's no reason why this Inquiry needs to take 5-10 years like others have. The longer this Inquiry takes, the less justice you will get and the less impact any recommendations that are made will have.


Q. What can we as individuals do to support the work of the legal team?

A. You can help in two ways 1. On the legal front and 2. On the non-legal front. On the legal front, we would encourage you to write down your recollections of what happened as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. The sooner you do this, the more accurate your recollections are likely to be. That said, we realise how upsetting that process can be and only you can decide when the best time is for you to recall and document what happened to your family. On the non-legal front, you may be able to assist the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice

group by playing a part in that group. Although we are liaising with and supporting the group we, the lawyers, are not coordinating the campaign of the group so any assistance you can provide on that front has to be through them.

Q. Will ongoing failings be taken into account by the Inquiry?

A. The Terms of Reference cover events up to the setting up date of 28th June 2022. In theory they can be updated throughout the process of the Inquiry, so any future failings can be included but in practice securing an amendment would be difficult.

Q. Could the outcome of the Inquiry lead to criminal prosecution?

A. An Inquiry cannot determine either criminal or civil liability, so the answer on that level is no. The full answer is much more complicated. The Inquiry should lay bare all of the evidence, at that point conclusions can be reached that can in turn inform other processes. The police and the prosecuting authorities will be watching the Inquiry very closely. The outcome of an Inquiry often leads to a matter of law being considered by prosecuting authorities. In the Hillsborough Inquiry, for instance, the jury concluded that the deceased had been unlawfully killed. That conclusion was a catalyst for criminal prosecutions. There were also civil proceedings where people managed to gain compensation. However, it's important to understand that each of those were separate processes to the initial Inquiry.

Q. When will the Inquiry report findings? Will there be interim reports?

A. Absolutely. The Chair has announced a modular approach to the Covid Inquiry. We expect reports will be published at the end of each module.


Q: Can you tell us briefly what each Module is?

A: Lady Hallet has announced 8 modules so far and any new information about modules can be found on the Inquiry website here: Structure of the Inquiry - UK Covid-19 Inquiry (covid19.public-inquiry.uk).

You can see a breakdown of each of the modules we have so far with links to their scope documents below:

Q. Will individual family members be given an opportunity to give evidence at the Inquiry?

A: It is ultimately up to the Chair of the Inquiry to determine which evidence she decides to hear. We now know that the current approach of the Inquiry is to call 1 bereaved witness per module. As a legal team, we will continue to advocate that the Inquiry should hear more evidence from the bereaved.